Do you have adblock enabled?
 
If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

(The Daily Beast)   Why a liberal arts education isn't just for losers who wouldn't last 15 minutes in a STEM program   (thedailybeast.com ) divider line
    More: Interesting, higher educations, liberal education, educational institutions, social mobility, Benjamin Franklin, arts  
•       •       •

5443 clicks; posted to Main » on 19 Jun 2014 at 11:44 AM (2 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



145 Comments     (+0 »)
 
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest


Oldest | « | 1 | 2 | 3 | » | Newest | Show all

 
2014-06-19 10:46:29 AM  
For the most part even STEM is useless.

I can't say I've ever actually done any real electrical engineering, I suppose it gave me a broad understanding of how circuits work, but I could do this job without a degree.
 
2014-06-19 11:12:22 AM  
I'm not using my degrees, and that is NOT my choice. *sigh* If I had to do it all again I would not have gone to college.
 
2014-06-19 11:50:05 AM  

EvilEgg: For the most part even STEM is useless.

I can't say I've ever actually done any real electrical engineering, I suppose it gave me a broad understanding of how circuits work, but I could do this job without a degree.


Therefore STEM is useless for everyone.
 
2014-06-19 11:51:52 AM  

raerae1980: I'm not using my degrees, and that is NOT my choice. *sigh* If I had to do it all again I would not have gone to college.


I don't know many people who wound up working in the field they went to school for, including myself. Most who do are teachers.

We graduated in the 70s and early 80s tho, before college debt was crushing. I really do feel for the younger generations.

Good luck!
 
2014-06-19 11:53:15 AM  
Don't we usually have this thread on *Wednesdays*?

Stoopid liberal arts modmins...
 
2014-06-19 11:53:21 AM  

BigNumber12: EvilEgg: For the most part even STEM is useless.

I can't say I've ever actually done any real electrical engineering, I suppose it gave me a broad understanding of how circuits work, but I could do this job without a degree.

Therefore STEM is useless for everyone.


QED
 
2014-06-19 11:53:49 AM  
says a writer for a third rate blog on the internet.
 
2014-06-19 11:53:57 AM  
I majored in theater. I've been employed gainfully as a software engineer for 15 years.
 
2014-06-19 11:54:31 AM  

BigNumber12: EvilEgg: For the most part even STEM is useless.

I can't say I've ever actually done any real electrical engineering, I suppose it gave me a broad understanding of how circuits work, but I could do this job without a degree.

Therefore STEM is useless for everyone.


That's what I am hearing.

Of course the dozen or so published IEEE guys that work across the office would beg to differ if they could stop arguing about anime.
 
2014-06-19 11:54:35 AM  
Because the world needs liberals?
 
2014-06-19 11:55:34 AM  
I was in EE for two weeks, it was boring as shiat. Did a year in computer science, another in chemistry. I learned more about what I wanted out of life from a Cultural Geography elective. I sincerely farked up my prospects for an $80k office drone job by getting a degree that looks stupid on paper, but I got a lot out of college. If I had any advice to give to people applying to colleges, it'd be to bury yourself in debt to go to a recognizable university and network with rich kids.
 
2014-06-19 11:55:47 AM  
I studied English and Philosophy in college.  My communication, problem solving, and analysis skills got me every job I've had, and at 35, I'm making more money than I ever thought I would.

Many of the computer programmers I went to school with in the late 90s can't find a decent job in their field.

Maybe we shouldn't try to categorize such complex issues as education and employment in such broad terms?
 
2014-06-19 11:56:01 AM  

flucto: Because the world needs liberals

people whining about how they aren't making any money despite their education?

Just sayin'
 
2014-06-19 11:56:02 AM  
In most universities, the S and the M (at the very least) are a part of the liberal arts.

/Got a graduate degree in neuroscience, working as a software developer
 
2014-06-19 11:56:27 AM  
There are plenty of technical schools if all you want to do is get a job with the minimum of time and cost. But there is a great deal of value in a good liberal education and society benefits from having a well educated populace. Insisting that it's a waste of time for Universities to do anything more than turn out worker drones with a satisfactory and easily defined cost/benefit ratio is a stupid argument made by small-minded people who in their wildest dreams see themselves with their boot on your neck.
 
2014-06-19 11:58:19 AM  

R.A.Danny: people whining about how they aren't making any money despite their education?


I assume whining is a big part of the liberal arts. And blame assignment.
 
2014-06-19 11:58:56 AM  

lindalouwho: We graduated in the 70s and early 80s tho, before college debt was crushing. I really do feel for the younger generations.


You're a breath of fresh air among a generation of "Why can't you guys just succeed like we did?"

My Dad was an Air Force Brat (read: not wealthy) and went to Stanford. He helped make ends meet by scooping ice cream part-time. Today... ha!
 
2014-06-19 11:59:03 AM  

flucto: Because the world needs liberals?


Perhaps you should go back to school long enough to learn the multiple definitions of a few of the words we're using.
 
2014-06-19 12:00:31 PM  

Orgasmatron138: I studied English and Philosophy in college.  My communication, problem solving, and analysis skills got me every job I've had, and at 35, I'm making more money than I ever thought I would.

Many of the computer programmers I went to school with in the late 90s can't find a decent job in their field.

Maybe we shouldn't try to categorize such complex issues as education and employment in such broad terms?


yes, but do they have as nice a rack as you?
 
2014-06-19 12:01:40 PM  

dv-ous: flucto: Because the world needs liberals?

Perhaps you should go back to school long enough to learn the multiple definitions of a few of the words we're using.


Don't bother, he's a troll. Not even a clever one. He just goes into every thread he sees and screams "LIBERALS!" as loudly as he can in hopes of getting a reaction from someone.
 
2014-06-19 12:02:18 PM  
"Americans starting with Benjamin Franklin have been suspicious of liberal arts higher education. But lately the critics' knives are out in earnest."

Because now with changes to the student loan program taxpayers are on the hook when people who took money for their worthless degrees don't pay the money back when the loan is forgiven.  People all of a sudden realize they have an opinion when you are taking money from them.  Such a mystery.
 
2014-06-19 12:03:18 PM  
If a liberal education included physics, organic chemistry, microbiology, latin, introduction to engineering, and maths to at least calculus, yes, it should be good.
 
2014-06-19 12:04:57 PM  
I dropped out of art college after one semester. Classes starting at noon, what was I thinking?
 
2014-06-19 12:05:01 PM  
I have about 2 dozen employees, all systems admins. About 1/3rd of my staff either never went to college or dropped out of college. My degree is in Biochemistry (and I graduated with honors), and I became a Unix sysadmin. STEM is good for the sciences and if you are becoming an actual engineer, and of course the professor tenure. Apart from that, diminishing returns. I have worked with great sysadmins with degrees in Theater, English, one woman had an MS in Immunology, and one successful manager was a high school dropout.
 
2014-06-19 12:05:05 PM  
I went to school for a Comp Engineering degree -- Low level programming, low power, small scale electronics, control systems, etc. Somehow I ended up designing robotic vision systems, quite a bit out of my education. But as the man said, "If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball!"

/Also, got my engineering degree from a predominately liberal arts college, so getting a kick out of the headline...
 
2014-06-19 12:05:56 PM  
Benjamin Franklin was also suspicious of pussy willow trees and people from Vermont.
He also yelled at clouds.
I think he invented that.
 
2014-06-19 12:06:37 PM  
Do what you want if you are paying for it.
Do what the owner of the money thinks you should do if you take the money.
 
2014-06-19 12:07:24 PM  

Voiceofreason01: Don't bother, he's a troll. Not even a clever one. He just goes into every thread he sees and screams "LIBERALS!" as loudly as he can in hopes of getting a reaction from someone.


That's a pretty amusing assertion. For your (obviously defective records) I am strongly in favor of:

Abortion rights
Free speech
Universal health care
Mandatory public campaign finance
and taking the Micky out of fools who take words way too seriously.
 
2014-06-19 12:07:45 PM  
The push for STEM degrees is a direct result of business majors. Hear me out:

In the old days, companies had apprentice programs that took talented young people, and trained them to do the needed jobs. But training is expensive, and runs counter to the business idea of replaceable cogs. So, they started pushing colleges to make graduates more "work ready". Now we have a system where workers go into debt to train themselves for a job. The workers pay, when it used to be the company that paid.

To make matters worse, companies now complain they can't find enough skilled workers (at a price they want to pay), so they went to congress and had the H1B visa program expanded. This serves to devalue the education that a worker paid for.

It's sad that higher education is devolving into a debt generating voc-tech program so businesses can have fatter bottom lines.

/tl/dr : back to work wage slave!
 
2014-06-19 12:08:33 PM  

GORDON: "Americans starting with Benjamin Franklin have been suspicious of liberal arts higher education. But lately the critics' knives are out in earnest."

Because now with changes to the student loan program taxpayers are on the hook when people who took money for their worthless degrees don't pay the money back when the loan is forgiven.  People all of a sudden realize they have an opinion when you are taking money from them.  Such a mystery.


You know, you wouldn't be on the hook for the loans I can't pay back if there were, you know, jobs available to us. Jobs that paid wages high enough to cover those loans, and rent, and insurance, and etc.
 
2014-06-19 12:08:53 PM  

LikeALeafOnTheWind: I majored in theater. I've been employed gainfully as a software engineer for 15 years.


Same here, only it's Communication (singular) and 10 years in general IT (from desktop support to application support to tech writing to product analysis to development). I wanted to go into radio, graduated in 2006.

My advice to the kiddos? Hope for the best (get a degree in Comm to work in radio), plan for the worst (beef up your IT skills, because you can monetize that shiat far easier than DJing a local rock station). YMMV on the specifics.

I know plenty of people that had a "goal" and a "because that's not gonna happen". Very few did the former rather than the latter, and they usually had attainable goals like "doctor" or "lawyer" (though one lawyer friend is not in the area he was hoping for, others are getting out of law entirely).
 
2014-06-19 12:10:46 PM  

Orgasmatron138: I studied English and Philosophy in college.  My communication, problem solving, and analysis skills got me every job I've had, and at 35, I'm making more money than I ever thought I would.

Many of the computer programmers I went to school with in the late 90s can't find a decent job in their field.

Maybe we shouldn't try to categorize such complex issues as education and employment in such broad terms?


But my superior STEM degree taught me that complex social issues like education and employment should ONLY be categorized in oversimplified terms!

/has both a STEM and liberal arts degree
//STEM more useful in landing first job
///liberal arts more useful ever since then
 
2014-06-19 12:13:07 PM  

flucto: and taking the Micky out of fools who take words way too seriously.


I see. You're above it all. A social crusader who just wants to make the world a better place. You can't help it if other people get upset when you shiat all over a decent conversation, make off-color jokes or demean other people. They should just get a thicker skin. Really you're helping people by trolling the shiat out of them. Maybe if you do it enough then some day we can all be as smart and special as you.

and the fact that you get off on the attention has nothing to do with it.
 
2014-06-19 12:14:09 PM  
I have worked with mechanical engineers that don't know the differences between a ratchet and a wrench.  Vocational education within STEM is VERY frickn useful.  As for Liberal Arts... they just don't teach any classical liberal arts anymore.  Today the only thing a liberal arts major means is that you have been through the Marxist Conformist Brain Washing.   How many liberal arts students have ever read the Federalist, or Adam Smith.  They probably don't know the political differences between the two Roosevelt's or what a Socratic debate is and Damn sure none of them have learned Latin.  There is no programs left that teach critical thinking.  No, nowdays only politically correct thinking is allowed.   THAT is why Liberal Arts is useless.
 
2014-06-19 12:15:15 PM  
media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com

Drysdale: You studied medicine at John Hopkins?

Jed: I can vouch for that. Granny rode a mule all the way to Timbo, Arkansas just to study with John and Elviri Hopkins.

Drysdale: John and Elviri Hopkins?

Granny: Probably the greatest husband and wife yarb doctorin' team in the history of medicine.

Jed: How long you study with them, Granny?

Granny: Well, I took the full course. Then I done what they call "post-graduate work." All in all, I was there purt near two weeks.
 
2014-06-19 12:16:25 PM  

loki see loki do: If a liberal education included physics, organic chemistry, microbiology, latin, introduction to engineering, and maths to at least calculus, yes, it should be good.


I have a liberal arts degree that actually required a lot of that.  Latin, a basic understanding of "natural science", and four solid years of math from Euclid right up to Calculus, and they tossed in Dedekind and Lobechevski just for giggles.  Add in formal logic as part of the philosophy requirement, and a class or two on music theory which turned out to be a lot more "this is how tonality and chord progressions work" than "listen and describe your feelings".

The problem with most "liberal arts" programs is that they simply lack rigor. Part of this seems to be the really vague definition of "liberal arts".  Are we talking about the traditional Trivium and Quadrivium, or are we including vague degrees in things like "communications".  The other part is that these departments are often where academic rigor goes to die.  Repeat your professors' pet hallucinations theories using five dollar words and skate by enjoying the 'college experience'.

Sorry, it just gets my blood up since the traditional liberal arts are supposed to be a rigorous training of the mind in clear thought, not a dumping ground for the underachieving children of the rich.
 
2014-06-19 12:16:55 PM  

Voiceofreason01: I see. You're above it all. A social crusader who just wants to make the world a better place. You can't help it if other people get upset when you shiat all over a decent conversation, make off-color jokes or demean other people. They should just get a thicker skin. Really you're helping people by trolling the shiat out of them. Maybe if you do it enough then some day we can all be as smart and special as you.

and the fact that you get off on the attention has nothing to do with it.


I do find it amusing to see people leap vigorously to defend the labels they hold dear, so yeah, if that makes me an asshole in some people's eyes I an live with that. More generally I see we will have to agree to disagree. All the best.
 
2014-06-19 12:16:56 PM  
No matter what degree you get and what field you go into, most of the specific information you're taught is irrelevant.

The problem is you can't predict ahead of time which parts are useless.
 
2014-06-19 12:18:17 PM  
I always love how the people who biatch about the current cost of a college education are the same people who push for people to take (and pay for) a bunch of useless navel-gazing classes in order to get a "well-rounded" education. Hell yes, max those student loans out and take that pottery class and that interpretive dance class! You will easily be able to pay them back later with all of the loot you will be making.
 
2014-06-19 12:21:35 PM  
If we want to push back against inequality and enhance the vitality of our culture and economy, we need to support greater access to a broad, pragmatic liberal education.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaah*snort*. Oh I'm sorry, you're serious.
Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.
 
2014-06-19 12:24:20 PM  
Dear Everyone,

Can we please stop acting there is a one size fits all approach to secondary education? Let kids study what they find interesting, whether that be underwater welding or the finer aspects of euclidian poetry. We just need to make sure that these kids understand that romantic educational choices that are chased without passion often lead to living in poor conditions and serving coffee to people as a career and being saddled with student debt.

My buddy used to like to embarrass his daughter when he dropped her off at school by yelling, "Make good decisions!" at her while her friends were around.

Make good decisions. It's really great advice, but so hard to follow.
 
2014-06-19 12:27:08 PM  
I have a degree in Art History and am finishing up my thesis for an MS. Now, I have a pretty good gig as an architectural historian doing consulting work. Not every liberal arts degree has to lead to saying "do you want fries with that?"
 
2014-06-19 12:28:50 PM  
yeah when I was a 19-year old engineering student I thought "durf hurf liberal arts" was a totally cool thing to believe
 
2014-06-19 12:29:45 PM  

jaybeezey: Let kids study what they find interesting


Video games?

Naked images of the physical morphology of whatever they find sexually attractive?

Couch sitting?
 
2014-06-19 12:29:51 PM  

jaybeezey: Dear Everyone,

Can we please stop acting there is a one size fits all approach to secondary education? Let kids study what they find interesting, whether that be underwater welding or the finer aspects of euclidian poetry. We just need to make sure that these kids understand that romantic educational choices that are chased without passion often lead to living in poor conditions and serving coffee to people as a career and being saddled with student debt.

My buddy used to like to embarrass his daughter when he dropped her off at school by yelling, "Make good decisions!" at her while her friends were around.

Make good decisions. It's really great advice, but so hard to follow.


Please don't put the educational program of my future nursing-home staff into the hands of teenagers.
 
2014-06-19 12:33:19 PM  
Quiet down and take your rightful place as another cog in the machine, peasant.

GORDON:
Because now with changes to the student loan program taxpayers are on the hook when people who took money for their worthless degrees don't pay the money back when the loan is forgiven.  People all of a sudden realize they have an opinion when you are taking money from them.  Such a mystery.

Way to miss the point. An educated populace that can think critically is far from "worthless". It could one day be a threat to the wealthy owner class though and we can't have that.

MonoChango: I have worked with mechanical engineers that don't know the differences between a ratchet and a wrench.  Vocational education within STEM is VERY frickn useful.  As for Liberal Arts... they just don't teach any classical liberal arts anymore.  Today the only thing a liberal arts major means is that you have been through the Marxist Conformist Brain Washing.   How many liberal arts students have ever read the Federalist, or Adam Smith.  They probably don't know the political differences between the two Roosevelt's or what a Socratic debate is and Damn sure none of them have learned Latin.  There is no programs left that teach critical thinking.  No, nowdays only politically correct thinking is allowed.   THAT is why Liberal Arts is useless.


Congratulations are producing the dumbest, most ill-informed post I've seen on Fark this week. You win the prize.
 
2014-06-19 12:33:29 PM  

raerae1980: GORDON: "Americans starting with Benjamin Franklin have been suspicious of liberal arts higher education. But lately the critics' knives are out in earnest."

Because now with changes to the student loan program taxpayers are on the hook when people who took money for their worthless degrees don't pay the money back when the loan is forgiven.  People all of a sudden realize they have an opinion when you are taking money from them.  Such a mystery.

You know, you wouldn't be on the hook for the loans I can't pay back if there were, you know, jobs available to us. Jobs that paid wages high enough to cover those loans, and rent, and insurance, and etc.


I think I see your confusion. You see, when people talk about a "job", they are talking about your employer giving you money in exchange for you using your skills to make them money. If your "skills" can't make you or anyone else money, then you aren't going to get paid for it. Doing things that you enjoy doing but aren't paid for are known as "hobbies". I hope that clears things up. It was all covered in Common Sense 101, but that class isn't a part of the liberal arts curriculum.
 
2014-06-19 12:35:27 PM  
STEM education doesn't mean major in a STEM field. People need to be STEM aware. Speak the language, and understand those who do STEM work. Someone still has to manage projects, sell the products, test the products, market the products, etc. etc. and the majority of jobs in these areas will be around technology.

I am pitching a software project right now that will employ five engineers for about four months, and the project will earn around $750K. If we are successful, our product will eliminate probably around 10,000 jobs in the first two years of its use. Then what it does will be commoditized and 100,000 more jobs will go out the window.

While these jobs are being eliminated, my team and I will move on to the next project, which will eliminate even more jobs.

We aren't out to eliminate jobs, but that's largely what technology does. Make sure your kids choose careers that take a lot of brain power. Having a high level of comfort with STEM subjects will help them, even if they are in liberal arts pursuits.


Orgasmatron138: Many of the computer programmers I went to school with in the late 90s can't find a decent job in their field.


That's crazy. I'm one of those guys. Heavily recruited and well paid. I've managed to stay at the same company because they react appropriately to my increasing value over time.

draypresct: No matter what degree you get and what field you go into, most of the specific information you're taught is irrelevant.

The problem is you can't predict ahead of time which parts are useless.


The important thing is to figure out how you learn. Having a background of knowledge in various subjects is always useful, but it's important to understand how you gained that knowledge. Kids need to be comfortable going into huge unknowns with the confidence that they can quickly learn what's needed.
 
2014-06-19 12:36:02 PM  

Jackson Herring: yeah when I was a 19-year old engineering student I thought "durf hurf liberal arts" was a totally cool thing to believe


Pretty much. It's an immature, ignorant attitude that I would have hoped most people would grow out of. Ahh... another hope dashed against the rocks...

/degree is in computer science
 
2014-06-19 12:44:10 PM  

waterrockets: draypresct: No matter what degree you get and what field you go into, most of the specific information you're taught is irrelevant.The problem is you can't predict ahead of time which parts are useless.

The important thing is to figure out how you learn. Having a background of knowledge in various subjects is always useful, but it's important to understand how you gained that knowledge. Kids need to be comfortable going into huge unknowns with the confidence that they can quickly learn what's needed.


I agree that both the background knowledge and understanding how to learn are important. I could quibble about how much weight to give either factor in different fields, but I'd rather do that over a beer or two with a game on.

I also agree that students need to be comfortable going into unknowns. No one is completely ready for their first real (career-type) job.
 
Displayed 50 of 145 comments


Oldest | « | 1 | 2 | 3 | » | Newest | Show all


View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest

This thread is archived, and closed to new comments.

Continue Farking
Submit a Link »
On Twitter






In Other Media


  1. Links are submitted by members of the Fark community.

  2. When community members submit a link, they also write a custom headline for the story.

  3. Other Farkers comment on the links. This is the number of comments. Click here to read them.

  4. Click here to submit a link.

Report